Monday, June 12, 2006
Con & Po Hit the Do!
Long ago, in a Bushian time relative sense, on January 7, 2006, an allegedly mated pair of endangered Reagan-era media celebrities was blessed with a weekly half hour of national weekend exposure before a tiny percentage of what once formed their national television audiences.
The program and hosts, perhaps exhausted from the grueling Manhattan social scene, tried for all the fresh insouciant exuberance of Reuven Frank’s 1974 premiere of Weekend with Lloyd Dobbins.
Coincidentally entitled Weekend with Maury & Connie, the program stole freely from the now deceased Frank’s 32 year-old program and failed to even generate a rudimentary web page until three weeks after the first broadcast.
These archetypic TV concept and style thefts, including Leroy Anderson’s hit 1950 melody (scroll to midi file) The Typewriter, created an illusion of newness that soured, for an average viewer, only if one had the misfortune of actually watching the too rehearsed doings on Con & Po’s Feng Shui-hungry MSNBC set.
Not wanting to be overly critical or cruel, I have to say the program’s only highpoints came with Connie’s initial expressions of near extinct liberal sentiment.
In these innocent days unspoiled by mistress allegations, Connie’s, I’m sure, unscripted and surprisingly smart Program #1 remarks offered the perfect antidote to Maury’s pig-ignorant proto-fascism and promised the exciting possibility of a second regular liberal cable news voice.
Of course, exciting possibilities, like TV originality, are the rarest of rarities.
With Program #2 , Connie's remarks appeared to have been edited.
In Program #3 Connie was definitely and heavily edited and by Program #4 she was reduced to near total ad-libbed silence.
It seems likely that Maury, ever efficient in courting office staff, successfully engineered a weekly cubicle coup against Connie’s more engaging on-air personality and, thus, sealed this program’s fate.
With their cancellation, as when they married more than 22 years ago, some are again wondering what the hell Connie ever saw in Shirley’s spoiled son.
Media observers are wondering what the idea-bankrupt MSNBC can do now that alleged programming wunderkind Rick Kaplan has decided to spend more time with his family.
Trapped by karma in the new media tar pit, the slow sucking death of the old media beast is perfectly encapsulated within the lifetime arc of Weekend with Maury & Connie.
Take heart, Connie!
Though crushed by Maury’s roving Eye of Sauron, Connie remains a heroic if daunted TV hobbit.
Sadly for the success-starved MSNBC, a newly Bush-indifferent America would have loved what a jealous Maury left on the cutting room floor.
Unlike her two and three-faced partner, TV warhorse Connie’s best revenge lies in a brutally frank self-appraisal and the possibility of an unedited solo comeback should future idea-bankrupt executives charge her with another timeslot.
Come on Connie and show the spunk that endeared you to so many of Nixon’s Secret Service detail.
Get busy and get even!